Returning to action after a long injury layoff, India wicketkeeper batter KL Rahul says he was a bundle of nerves and it took him some time to settle down before going for his shots against a quality Pakistan attack in the Asia Cup in Colombo. The 31-year-old, who had suffered a debilitating thigh injury during the IPL which later necessitated a surgery, smashed an unconquered 106-ball 111 to play a vital role in India’s massive 228-run win over Pakistan on Monday.
“Obviously, this is my first international match after a long time. I played a couple of practice games, but we all know the intensity is not the same. So when I walked in, I had that initial nervousness,” Rahul told Star Sports after his sixth ODI hundred.
“It took me 10-15 balls to just calm myself down and get my feet moving, get my mind thinking of the right things. Then, when I hit one or two boundaries, all those things, the fogginess in your clarity, went away, and it became like before.” Rain interruptions made things further difficult as Rahul and Virat Kohli (122 not out) had to restart the India innings, which was suspended on Sunday because of rain, at 147 for two in 24.1 overs.
“I was looking at the ball, looking at the situation, and you see what you have to do. But just when I got my rhythm, it started raining…and I had to wait for a whole day,” Rahul said.
“Today we came back and had to wait for the innings to start. So I had to restart the innings again. So, again, the first 10-15 balls were sort of nervy, and after that, once you start to hit a few balls in the middle, you forget about those things, and then you start thinking about where you can score runs and what I have to do.” Rahul, who underwent rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to get fit for the Asia Cup but missed the first two group matches due to a niggle, forged a 233-run stand with Kohli for the unconquered third wicket to power India to 356-2.
Talking about his partnership with Kohli, Rahul said: “He has hit 13,000 runs. I can’t say anything about that man; he is just phenomenal. Words are short to describe what a great cricketer he is, and I’ve always felt comfortable playing with him in the middle.
“Initially, he gave me some time; I had said that I need some time to get those quick singles because I need to feel comfortable and confident in my body, and he understood that. After that, it was just a flow.
India will face Sri Lanka in another Asia Cup Super Fours match on Tuesday.
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